Stay safe with a clear windshield
One of the most important safety features of your vehicle isn’t the latest computer gizmo or gadget. Introduced over a century ago, your car’s windshield wipers deliver a clear view of the road, which is paramount to safe driving. Without clear sight lines of the road and your surroundings, your safety and the safety of your passengers are compromised.
When should I change my wipers?
Experts recommend changing your wipers on a regular basis, at least every six months. If your wipers aren’t clearing your windshield effectively, you should get new wiper blades installed immediately.
Winter is coming – time to check your wipers
With winter weather fast approaching, it is an ideal time to inspect your wipers for signs of wear – snow and ice are tough on your wipers. By examining your windshield wipers before winter (or the rainy season) arrives, as well as at regular intervals during winter, you’ll ensure that your wipers are ready to perform the next time snow or rain begins to fall.
Check your wipers again in the spring to make sure that your wipers have made it through the long winter and are ready for a summer full of road trips and vacations.
What to look for
When inspecting your windshield wipers, there are many signs of wear to look for.
Some you will discover upon physically examining your blades while other problems will become apparent when you use your wipers.
Worn and dirty wiper blades are a major cause of streaking
If your wiper blades go unused for a long period of time, they can develop a curvature that causes them to not make proper contact with the windshield. This can result in a skipping or chattering sound when you use them.
Cold weather and freezing temperatures make the rubber hard and brittle, which can result in your wiper blades splitting.
If there is buildup of dust, dirt or other debris on the windshield glass, the wipers won’t make a smooth pass and can make a squeaking sound.
What to do
The remedies for fixing streaking/smearing, squeaking and skipping/chattering windshield wiper blades are the same. Keep your windshield clean and free of dirt, dust and debris. Avoid operating your wipers on a dry windshield. If the windshield isn’t wet enough when you run the wiper blades, it can cause skipping that creates squeaky wipers. Clean your wiper blades with rubbing alcohol to help eliminate streaks and smears.
If you put Rain-X or a similar product on your windshield, your wipers may squeak or skip/chatter. If this happens, remove the product from your windshield. These treatments can cause an accumulation on your windshield that can result in squeaking wipers.
Check the wiper assembly to make sure it is working properly and isn’t bent. If the assembly is damaged, consider replacing it. In the case of splitting wipers, once your windshield wipers have started to split, you must replace them. The split will just get worse and will lead to poor wiping performance when it matters most – while driving in rain, snow or ice.
Refill blade or wiper blade?
Some people choose to replace the entire wiper blade assembly so they don’t have to worry about the refill not fitting the blade. On some blades, another option is replacing the rubber wiping element with a wiper blade refill. Cheaper than buying a new blade, this is a viable option as long as the blade isn’t bent. Beam type blades use an integral wiping element. If your vehicle has beam blades, replace the complete blade assembly.
There isn’t a correct answer to the wiper blade versus wiper blade refill question – it comes down to what you are most comfortable with, especially if you are doing the installation yourself.
I’m still having issues – what should I do?
If none of these solutions help solve your problem, then it is time to replace your wiper blades. If one wiper blade or wiper blade refill is worn out, it won’t be long before the other wiper blade or refill needs replacing. It is recommended that wipers be replaced in pairs. If you drive an SUV, minivan or hatchback, be sure to keep an eye on the wiper blade on the rear window for signs that it needs replacing.
The content contained in this article is for informational purposes only and should not be used in lieu of seeking professional advice from a certified technician or mechanic. We encourage you to consult with a certified technician or mechanic if you have specific questions or concerns relating to any of the topics covered herein.